A reasonably dispassionate reading of Senator Bond's speech suggests
that he makes enough *good* points that the levels of attack seen thus
far on this lists strike me as reactionary far more than reflective.
In bio-thechnology we are up against another one of those "we now have
more power than wisdom" dilemmas. That bio-technology is powerful is
incontestible. That it is already here is equally incontestible. Like
any technology it can produce good, and it can produce harm. FIRE can
keep you warm and cook your food. It can also burn you and destroy
your house. Is the problem fire itself, or the careless use thereof?
Genetic engineering and other biotechnology, especially when applied to
fermentation *will* produce great good. Insulin is already an example
of this. I have stated on this list before that Jews and Moslems are
not thrilled by the prospects of pork genes in unidentified tomatoes.
Before genetic engineering, diabetic Jews and Moslems had a serious
problem in that all insulin was derived from (first) dogs and (later)
pigs, both of them "unclean" animals for adherants of those faiths.
Biotechnology has made it possible in recent years to produce massive
amounts of very pure insulin in a fermentation vat.
I ask of the opponents of biotechnology on this list one simple
Are you categorically opposed to all genetic engineering without
Desires and attempts to ban an entire technology seek to redress the
power--wisdom imbalance by repressing the power, rather than by
increasing the wisdom. Attempts to suppress new technologies that
clearly offer some benefits are ultimately both counter-productive and
futile. Seeking to increase wisdom, however, in a society in which
education is failing and disintegrating in markedly inverse proportion
to the amount of money poured into it, is (er..) challenging, to say
Even more difficult is that, having decided as a society to function on
the basis of feelings rather than reason, and having thereby abandoned
any clear and consistent sense of right and wrong, we have effectively
eliminated the substrate from which wisdom has usually emerged. By
default we are left with what typically develoves into a straight power
Tragically, in such situations there is usually a winning side and a
losing side. Which ever side 'wins' has significant flaws that -- by
virtue of the 'win' -- are widely imposed with unfortunate long-term
results. In the case of bio-technology these unfortunate results could
be environmental if one side 'wins.' If, however, the opponents 'win,'
we collectively lose access to many of the very genuine benefits
enumerated by Senator Bond .
I think we ought to be able to do better. Whether we can or not is less
clear. In yet another example of the separation in time of cause and
effect, we are --- in our polarised inability to seek or develop wisdom
--- reaping the results of the "everything is relative," "feelings
trump reason," "each person defines their own truth" school of
Postmodernism that began its ascendancy some 30 years ago.
It's a power struggle no one can really win because we have largely
lost our basis for developing the wisdom we so badly need.
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